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Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a phospholipid with a choline molecule attached, and is the most common form of choline found in foods. Choline is defined as an essential nutrient by the FDA, yet between 80% - 90% of Americans currently don’t get enough through their diet.
Choline is used by the body to produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a key role in many cognitive processes including memory, fluid intelligence, and mood.
We recommend taking one 1200 mg Phosphatidylcholine Complex capsule per day, which yields 420 mg of choline. (This yields nearly all the choline needed per day, which is 550 mg for men and 450 mg for women.)
A higher dose of 2 capsules per day is perfectly safe to take for those working to correct a serious choline deficiency or who need a higher than average choline intake.
As it’s the main form of choline found in many foods, Phosphatidylcholine is very well tolerated and side effects are rare. When taken orally, the most common side effects reported are sweating, upset stomach, and diarrhea.
These side effects are most common in those taking doses far higher than the recommended dosage of 1-2 capsules per day.
Phosphatidylcholine Complex Triple Pack - $ 49.95 (360 x 1200 mg soft gels)
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Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a phospholipid (two fatty acids joined to a phosphate group by glycerol) that contains a choline attachment. The two fatty acids are hydrophobic (water repellant) tails while the phosphate is a hydrophilic (attracts water) head. PC plays a role in every cell in the human body as it is part of the cell membrane. (1) The inner layer of the cell membrane is Phosphatidylserine, but the outer layer consists of PC.
While some PC is synthesized in your body, it is generally not in sufficient quantities, especially as we age. (4) PC can be found in food sources such as egg yolks, liver, soybeans, or beef; the same food sources for choline since PC is the most common sources of choline in foods. (2) However even with these food sources, most individuals on a western diet are choline deficient.
An increase in choline levels is one of the popular nootropic benefits of PC, along with memory enhancement, and neuron health. (5,6) PC has grown in popularity for supplementation for its ability to improve liver health as low levels of PC has been shown to cause liver damage. (7)
The primary benefit of PC is its ability to enhance cognitive function and memory while supporting brain health. PC is a source of choline so increases levels of choline in the brain. Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine (ACh) which is the primary neurotransmitter for memory and learning. (6,8) PC stores additional choline to be converted in ACh when needed.
PC aids in formation of long-term memory. (5,9) Via a hydrolysis of PC, additional fatty acids are made that facilitate signaling of ACh receptors that is necessary for long-term memory. (5) As PC is part of the cell membrane, it also plays a protective role for cells and neurons. Cholinergic neurons which are responsible for ACh signaling in the brain is protected by the PC in the membrane. (6)
In addition to these benefits, PC has additional benefits that will be discussed in “Phosphatidylcholine Research” that include:
PC is available as a powder, capsule, liquid, tablets or via an injection. As a capsule or tablet, PC can be taken at any time throughout the day and is recommended to be taken 30 minutes prior to eating. PC is available through food sources, but these sources don’t contain high levels of PC and are not common in the typical Western diet.
PC injections are used to induce lipolysis (fat reduction). (17) The results have PC injections for fat reduction have had varying levels of benefits and varying side effects. (18,19)
Phosphatidylcholine Dosage Instructions
Clinical studies utilizing PC have been conducted with doses ranging from 420mg to 4,000mg. For PC supplementation with the intended benefit of memory support, an average dosage recommendation would be between 500mg and 2,400mg. If taking more than 1,200mg of PC daily, it is recommended to split it up into two doses.
Half-life and Duration of Effects
PC begins to take effects anywhere from two to six hours after ingestion. (30,31) The half-life has been shown to last from 28 to 48 hours. (30,31)
While PC is very safe there are some serious safety concerns to be aware of. PC products are generally derived from soy lecithin so if you have a soy allergy, they should be avoided. AChE inhibitors should not be taken with PC as it increases the likelihood of an excess of choline and can lead to more side effects.
Since PC is naturally produced in the body, it is very well-tolerated. Any side effects associated with PC supplementation are generally related to higher than average levels of choline, which include; upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Since PC is a source of choline, one of the ways it works is to increase levels of choline in your brain. (6) Via the enzyme choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), choline is converted into acetylcholine (ACh). ACh is the primary neurotransmitter for memory and learning. (8) PC also helps to synthesize choline into ACh. (6) PC stores choline so that it is readily available to be synthesized into ACh. A lack of choline leads to a decrease in memory and learning so by supplementing with PC you’re able to increase choline levels while storing it for use when needed.
PC is an important cog in the process of long-term potentiation (LTP). (5) LTP is the strengthening of synapses that produce long-lasting increase in signaling transmission which is needed for long-term memory. (9) Phospholipase A2-catalyzed hydrolysis is the process of hydrolyzing PC to create free fatty acids. The free fatty acids that are hydrolyzed from PC are (5):
PC is a vital part of the cell membrane. The cell membrane controls the movement of substances into and out of cells and is involved in cell signaling. The two fatty acid tails of PC allow for membrane fluidity since they are hydrophobic. (3) The heads face outwards, to the aqueous side while the tails face inward. As the tails are facing each other, they prevent phospholipid molecules from packing together and forming a solid. The cell membrane also provides a protective role for the cell by helping to maintain function and structure.
One of the cells that relies on PC are cholinergic neurons. (6) Cholinergic neurons are nerve cells that utilize ACh to send messages to other cells. Cholinergic neurons are responsible for providing ACh to the cerebral cortex. PC has several roles in this function. By increasing choline, there is an increase in ACh to send. PC then helps to protect these neurons via its role in the cell membrane.
The number of fatty acids that you obtain from your diet plays a role in how the cell membranes are made up. A proper balance allows your cells to function and be structurally normal. However, most diets are deficient in several key areas which is why supplementation is necessary.
Enhances Cognitive Function and Memory (20,21)
The first single dose PC study with humans was conducted on 80 college students. Students were administered 10mg or 25mg or PC or a placebo. A serial learning task was administered to the students 60 and 90 minutes after ingestion. PC administration saw a significant improvement in explicit memory at 90 minutes after ingestion. At 60 minutes after ingestion there was slight improvement. While both improvements were attributed to PC and its mechanism to increase levels of ACh, the difference in time parameters was attributed to a response in slow learners.
A study on mice was conducted to observe the effects of PC on brain serum levels of choline, ACh, and choline ChAT in the cortex and hippocampus. The mice used in this study were either regarded as having normal brain functions or dementia. Each group was administered 100mg of PC for 45 days. In both groups administration of PC greatly increased the levels of choline in both brain regions. As choline is the precursor for ACh, the results suggest that PC can improve memory and learning by increasing levels of ACh.
Promotes Liver Health (22,23)
Low levels of PC results in poor hepatic PC availability and has been shown to cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in humans. NAFLD is the accumulation of liver fat in people who drink little or no alcohol. The current recommendation for NAFLD is lifestyle modification.
One study aimed to determine the effectiveness of PC combined with silybin (a standardized extract of milk thistle) to improve liver health. 138 patients were split into groups who received a PC/silybin combination or a placebo. Liver health was measured on liver enzyme levels, homeostatic model assessment, and liver histologic score. Administration occurred twice daily for 12 months. The group that received the PC/silybin combination showed significant improvements in all three areas measured along with the added benefits of a normalization of body mass index in 15% of patients and improved insulin resistance.
Increases Fat Breakdown (24,25)
Lipolysis, the breakdown of fat, involves the breakdown of triglyceride. PC decreases the expression of the lipogenic marker peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) which regulate fatty acid storage.
A study was conducted that was aimed at determining the effects of PC on fat breakdown. 13 women with a body mass index of ≤ 30kg/m² were selected in a randomized, open-label study. PC was administered via an injection combined with deoxycholate in the abdomen. The women who had received the PC injections saw a significant reduction in the thickness of abdominal fat. This was a result of the injections leading to adipocyte necrosis (fat cell storage death).
Reduces Inflammation (26)
PC and its metabolites exhibit anti-inflammatory properties in various stress conditions so it was hypothesized that PC may have anti-inflammatory functionality. In this study male mice were induced with arthritis via collagen administration. The mice were fed PC as part of a pretreatment, or post arthritis onset diet.
The mice who were fed PC as part of their pretreatment saw a reduction in arthritis hypersensitivity and saw an improvement in tissue damage as a result. This suggests that oral administration of PC may be a preventative approach ameliorating inflammation.
What does phosphatidylcholine do in the body?
Phosphatidylcholine increases levels of choline and in turn, acetylcholine. It also plays an important role in maintaining the structure and function of cells in its role in the cell membrane.
What foods contain phosphatidylcholine?
Foods that contain phosphatidylcholine include; egg yolks, liver, soybeans, beef, and peanuts.
Do you need to cycle phosphatidylcholine?
You do not need to cycle phosphatidylcholine but should be mindful of your dosing so as to not have too much choline in your system.
Is phosphatidylcholine the same as lecithin?
No, while soy lecithin is a source of phosphatidylcholine, plain lecithin is not.
Are phosphatidylcholine injections a safe way to get rid of unwanted fat?
While phosphatidylcholine injections have shown to eliminate fatty growths, there is a lack of scientific study behind this idea and has had mixed results with mixed side effects and should not be considered safe at this time.
Does phosphatidylcholine protect you from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)?
Some studies have shown that phosphatidylcholine may protect the stomach from frequent use of NSAIDs but they are lacking.
* These reviews are the experiences of the individual customers that submitted them, results may differ from person to person.
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